UBC Open Access Fund for Humanities and Social Sciences Research

This fund is administered by the UBC Library with funding support from the Vice-President, Research & Innovation and the Provost and Vice-President Academic, UBC Vancouver through the Academic Excellence Funds.  Approximately $75,000 is available annually.

The Open Access Fund has been expended for the 2023/24 funding cycle. Applications will reopen in September, 2024.

The UBC Open Access Fund for Humanities and Social Sciences Research assists UBC faculty members who wish to publish in Open Access books and journals and who are required to pay associated fees, sometimes known as article processing charges (APCs).   This fund supports research directly aligned with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s General Guidelines for Eligibility of Subject Matter for SSHRC and Eligibility of Applications Related to Health.

The Open Access Fund supports the costs of making books or journal articles openly accessible, that is, accessible without subscription or paywalls. Open access is a requirement of many funding agencies and enables wide dissemination of University research.

A separate fund, UBC’s Scholarly Publication Fund, is available to subsidize other costs of publication such as publisher subventions, indexing, image clearances, etc.

Important deadlines

Starting September 1st, the Fund takes applications through the academic year until funding is depleted, at which point the Fund will be closed for the year. Support depends upon funding availability and is not guaranteed.

Eligibility requirements

  • Peer-reviewed publications (journal articles, books, book chapters) which require funding in order to make the works openly accessible.
  • Research supported by a SSHRC grant or eligible under the SSHRC subject guidelines above.  Other subject disciplines are ineligible and should seek alternate funding sources. Research funded solely by NSERC and/or CIHR is ineligible.
  • Works that have been accepted for publication and for which the applicant is a primary (submitting or corresponding) author.
  • Applicants must be tenure-track faculty in the Research Stream or Educational Leadership Stream , or librarians and archivists with confirmed/confirmation-track appointments, at UBC Vancouver or UBC Okanagan.
  • A separate application is required for each work. The limit per award is $4,000 CAD.  Authors are responsible for paying publishers any amount beyond this limit.
  • $4,000 CAD is the maximum available to an individual author or individual work each academic year.

Funds will be awarded only when no other funding (grant, departmental) is available to the author for this purpose.  Applicants should exhaust other funding sources that support open access charges before applying.  Note that most funding agencies including SSHRC include open access charges among eligible grant expenses.  More information is available about requesting funds for open access charges in your grant applications.

Individuals not normally eligible to apply include term, visiting, affiliate, honorary and emeritus faculty; lecturers, post-doctoral fellows and research associates; staff members; and students.  Other campus funds such as CTLT’s SOTL Dissemination Fund or Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ Graduate Student fund should be considered where applicable.

UBC authors who are not a primary (submitting or corresponding) author are not normally eligible, and should encourage the work’s primary author to seek alternate funding sources.

Publications supported

Journal articles:  Authors are free to publish in the peer-reviewed journal of their choice.  This includes journals that are fully open access or subscription journals that charge a fee/APC for open access. Funded articles must be made openly accessible immediately upon publication, with no embargo period.

As general guidance, open access journals should be those who meet criteria for inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Journals. Authors should make every effort to ensure they do not pay fees to ‘predatory journals’ – i.e., publications that do not follow accepted scholarly or editorial practices.  Authors should not submit requests to fund APCs from predatory journals, as the program may reject such applications. For guidance on assessing a journal, see the Library’s guide to Evaluating Open Access Journals: Ensure You’re Submitting to a Legitimate Journal.

UBC Library has established memberships or APC discounts with some of the most prominent open access publishers.  Applicants should check the availability of discounts and adjust the amount requested accordingly

Support from the Open Access Fund should be acknowledged in the publication.  Successful applicants are requested to deposit a copy of their article in UBC’s research repository, cIRcle.

Books: Because the open access environment for books is still evolving, eligibility will be decided on a case-by-case basis. The following criteria will be considered:

  • Books supported should be openly accessible immediately upon digital publication.
  • In the case of contributed chapters to a multi-author volume, the entire volume must be published in an open access basis in order for individual chapters to be considered for funding.
  • Books and book chapters must be published by reputable, peer-reviewed, scholarly presses.
  • Previously published works being converted to open access must be complete versions of the prior work and open access not time limited.

Please contact the Open Access Fund Coordinators to confirm eligibility if you intend to apply for funding to support an open access book/book chapter.

Review process and criteria

Complete the online application form below at the point of acceptance of your work by the publisher.  Please note that ‘submitted’ or ‘under review’ submissions will not be considered.

Attach a PDF copy of the publisher invoice to your application.  This should include sufficient publisher payment information, including any web links or contacts, so the Library can direct the payment correctly.  Invoices issued by publishers must include the applicant’s name, the title of the work, an invoice number, and specify they are for ‘open access’ charges.  If the fee to be paid exceeds $4,000 CAD, the Fund will only pay up to that amount, and the applicant must arrange to pay the balance by a separate source (usually via payment originating in the department) and identify this source within the application.

NB: the Fund will not reimburse open access fees already paid by authors.  Applications to the Fund must be made before any payment is made against the invoice.

The Fund Coordinators will screen applications for eligibility before authorizing payment.  Payments will be sent directly to the publisher. The typical time to process applications and forward payments to publishers is 30 business days.  Authors whose applications are declined due to not meeting criteria will be notified in a similar time frame.

If, following an award or payment from the Fund, the work is not published for any reason, the recipient agrees that funds will be returned to the University within 60 days of receiving such notification.

How to apply

Please note that the fund is now closed and will reopen in September, 2024

Complete the online APPLICATION  FORM with the following required documents attached:

1) the publisher’s invoice for open access

2) your digital signature attached. 


For more information please contact:

The Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office at UBC Library.
email: scholarly.communications@ubc.ca